Modifying & Enforcing Support

Change is inevitable as your family moves on after a divorce or separation. If handled correctly, your agreements or Court orders should include a level of flexibility to allow for such changes so you do not need to go to court every time an issue or changed circumstance comes up.

If you need to vary or enforce an existing support agreement or order, Westside Family Law can do that for you. In most cases, it is simply a matter of getting together with both parties to discuss changes and amend existing terms. In others, it may be necessary to go back to Court if parties cannot agree. Our lawyers are equally comfortable managing either scenario. We will do our utmost to obtain solutions that fit your family's new circumstances.

Recalculating Child Support

The Child Support Guidelines (CSG) remain the same regardless of your circumstances. If you receive a salary raise, lose your job or suffer some other financial change that changes your income, you will need to recalculate income and child support based on your income and that of your ex-spouse or partner. We can assist you with this and the paperwork necessary to change your existing agreement or order based on these recalculations.

Changing Spousal Support

Spousal support modifications are not quite as straightforward. Many seek to vary spousal support because of career changes, retirement or unexpected circumstances like a prolonged illness or serious injury. Such cases may make the existing terms of your agreement "significantly unfair" based on the changed circumstances. It will be up to you to prove this is the case, something we can assist you with.

You may also apply to change a spousal support Court order if either of you experienced a change of "condition, means or need." Typically, this occurs if someone receives a raise or pay cut, wins the lottery or receives some other type of windfall, or becomes unemployed or disabled.

The above information underscores the necessity of revisiting your support orders annually. Courts have set aside existing agreements when one party wasn't informed of a substantial change. Westside Family Law offers services in annual support review precisely to help you avoid these situations.

Enforcing Child Support Orders

Unpaid support or child support payments can accrue for a variety of reasons. For those enrolled in BC's Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP), the enforcement process is done by the FMEP. The FMEP can assess fees, add interest and/or pursue collection actions such as garnishment of bank accounts or wages to make up for overdue support payments. It can also pursue harsher penalties, including incarceration, in more severe cases of delinquency.

Most cases don't go this far. The best first step is to open a dialogue about the issue. People who pursue resolutions through negotiation or mediation often obtain successful resolutions without the added expense or frustration of litigation. We can help facilitate such discussions and any variances to orders or agreements that might result.

We shall take the issue to Court if needed. We will do a full cost-benefit analysis of your situation before recommending litigation.

Talk To Our Lawyers About Your Support Enforcement Needs

Financial battles between ex-spouses can escalate out of control if they are ignored or improperly managed. We focus on the future, taking steps to resolve such issues efficiently and effectively for you. Contact our office in Vancouver at 604-800-8853 to get your questions answered.